Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Public: Dave Clark Five: "Everybody Knows"

For some reason, in late '67 the charts start to go retrograde; there is hardly anything that could be called "forward" actually making much headway, and there are songs from the 40s creeping in, such as "Careless Hands" and "There Must Be A Way." Meanwhile, songs that pointed to the future, such as The Who's "I Can See For Miles" and Simon Dupree's "Kites" - songs that I should be writing about - didn't do nearly as well as songs like "Let The Heartaches Begin" by Long John Baldry (not a song he wanted to record), or "If The Whole World Stopped Loving" by Val Doonican.

In part this is due to hardly any competition from pirate radio; and radio thrives on variety. The charts at this time were like amber, with lively butterflies stuck in them, all the more obvious for their brilliant differences. Into this morass appear The Dave Clark Five, who needed a hit; they went to Les Reed & Barry Mason, reliable purveyors of songs to Englebert and Tom Jones and got a song from them, and hey presto, it was indeed a hit. The DC5 were not known for sitting down in frilly shirts and singing ballads about how they were crying and everyone could see; their usual singer, Mike Smith, was unsuited to this sob story, and thus Lenny Davidson does the job here.

The dilemma here for the group was that, unlike other groups who could adapt, psychedelia was just not meant for them; there was no way they could harness that big stompy beat of theirs to bucolic wanderings in parks or tales of fantastic happenings. And so they were reduced, as such, to this; they needed and got a hit. (They had not been in the top 10 since '65.) Thus the DC5 add, unhappily, to the ongoing sense of torpor in the chart - the summer is over, the nation is hunkering down for a ballad-heavy winter of stupor. I can see the empty bottles wine, the flickering candles, the exhaustion; it is as if the party is nearly over and hearts, oh hearts have been broken all over the place, and people are weeping in the streets.

The grooviness and enlightenment which '67 promised has nearly evaporated, though it still exists, waiting to spring up with just one ray of light. I can only shake my head at these charts; but then the radio situation was as such that the easy way out was almost always the one taken. And maybe a breather was necessary, after such excitement. But does it have to be so uniformly old-fashioned, dowdy even? What happened to rock 'n' roll, to anything silly or outrageous or gloriously weird? It's gone underground...for now...

1 comment:

Mark G said...

I think this is a unique event, in that here is an act that has managed to chart with two different songs with exactly the same title.

"Everybody Knows" the first, was Jan 65.

Although OMD managed to chart two "Joan of Arc" songs, one got retitled from the album to "Maid of Orleans" so no qualify there.